this is the millionth time I’ve done this kind of thing but my college list has almost been finalized and I would like some insight on it. any help is appreciated.
- US citizen
- CA (LA area)
- Type of high school: large (2.5k) public mediocre HS
- Gender/Race/Ethnicity: female Asian (Chinese)
- Other special factors: parents are immigrants, considered first-gen for some schools (Columbia and Brown I think?)
Intended Major(s) political science / international relations. looking to go into journalism, but not to major in it.
GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
- Unweighted HS GPA: 3.97
- Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system): 9-12 - 4.17 // 10-12 (for Stanford ??) 4.42 (AP/honors 1 pt boost)
the thing about my GPA is that I took honors courses during my freshman and sophomore year but they were not given extra weight. only courses deemed AP/Honors courses by the UC system were given weight.
- UC GPA: UW - 4.0, W - 4.33, Weighted + capped - 4.33
- Class Rank: school doesn’t rank but within top 15% according to UC ELC
- ACT/SAT Scores: SAT - 1470 (EBRW 750 M 720), retaking in August aiming for 1500+
(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))
- freshman: honors english, accelerated math
- sophomore: honors English, honors chem, accelerated math
- junior : AP Chinese, AP Lang, APUSH, accelerated math
- senior (intended): AP Lit, AP Gov, AP Stats
- by the time I graduate I will have 80 language credits (completed all Chinese and Spanish courses)
- QuestBridge College Prep Scholar
- received highest award for juniors at my school (~30 ish people received out of class of ~500)
- Regional Gold Key, Scholastic Art & Essay (critical essay, 2020)
- Regional Honorable Mention, Scholastic (critical essay, 2021)
(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)
- Speech & Debate (9, 11 - general member / 12 - publicity chair, guaranteed one more board position + probably will get event co-captain) our team is within top 50 in the nation.
- Red Cross (11 - general member / 12 - art chair)
- AP Ambassadors (11-12 - Publicity Co-chair)
- Newspaper (12 - guaranteed News Editor)
- FARMS - student run org to feed local families (11-12 - English Outreach Coordinator)
- Key Club (11-12 - general member)
- student election worker volunteer - Nov 2020
- representing my school in CA Girls State (next week!)
- Link Crew (12 - member)
- waitlisted for Pioneer - applying to Alpha Scholars research program + Horizon research program
(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.)
I’m a pretty strong writer with some great mentors behind me. I’d say 8-9/10 for my essays and 7-9/10 for my LORs.
Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
I am low-income enough for QB. I don’t have all my numbers yet but it looks like I will be 0 EFC or close to it.
(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)
because I am also applying through QB, I will denote the schools I am potentially applying through QB Match with (^) and QB RD with (°). In the chance I don’t get QB Finalist, I will probably apply to Stanford REA and Swarthmore or maybe University of Chicago EDII if it doesn’t work out + University of Arizona EA.
- Safety (certain admission and affordability)
- Sac State
- ASU / University of Arizona (one of these two: need merit for it to be affordable)
- will look into more CSUs
- Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
- UC Riverside
- UC Davis
- UCSD (?)
- Reed / Syracuse / GWU (considering)
- Stanford (likely REA if through Common App) ^
- Columbia ^
- Swarthmore (likely ED II) ^
- UPenn ^
- UChicago ^
- Northwestern (may double major in poli sci + journalism) °
- Yale °
- not definite but considering (through QB RD if available): BU, Rice, Princeton, Tufts, Pomona/CMC, Brown
wow, that’s a lot of schools. I welcome any suggestions for safeties and matches/likelies, also please tell me if any schools on my list do not match my preferences:
- most important factors: financial aid + diversity + proximity to a city
- proximity to a city primarily because of political / journalistic opportunities ^^
- definite “No” in a college is if it has a reputation of heavy party culture, heavy Greek life presence, religious affiliation.
- would like FGLI + LGBTQ + POC support (I am not first gen though, I just use the acronym), good study abroad programs, have things to do around / outside campus
- I want to get out of SoCal mostly, East Coast / NorCal preferably. not sure about pacific northwest but I’m not opposed to it.
- I generally am opposed to smaller (population) schools since my HS is about the size of some LACs (Swarthmore is the obvious exception here). that is why I prefer universities > LACs but I am open to any suggestions of smaller schools bc a liberal arts curriculum appeals to me.
- I am open to schools with core or no core. i am passable at courses like chem and bio (not sure about physics and CS since I avoid them like the plague) but don’t like them. recently been considering open curriculum schools more heavily but still prefer schools with some requirements.
- there are schools I realize may be suggested to me so I feel the need to point them out beforehand because I do not like them. they are CSULA, USC, Georgetown, and Dartmouth. in the case of usc, it’s fine - I wouldn’t apply personally because it’s not for me.
so sorry for the long read any and all suggestions are appreciated, thank you so much for reading until the end lol